Many students pursue a dual Master of Public Health (MPH) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) as a means of getting into leadership positions at health care organizations or non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Students in these programs learn how to assess and care for the health needs of a target population while also balancing the financial needs and responsibilities of their organization.
General Program Information
The MPH/MBA program generally runs for three years, but intensive two-year programs are available at some schools. Participation in optional summer sessions can also reduce the overall time of completion.
Students who wish to pursue a dual degree are usually required to apply to each of the relevant departments separately. For this particular dual degree, that would usually be the business school and the school of public health or medicine. It is possible for students to be accepted by one department but not the other, in which case they would be able to proceed with the single degree but would not be eligible for the dual degree program.
Some programs may require the student to attend each of the different departments or schools exclusively for one academic year, but not all of the programs are structured that way.
Some examples of courses commonly found in dual MBA/MPH curricula include:
Operations management courses teach students how to efficiently manage the information and materials necessary to an organization. Topics covered in these classes include management of projects and inventory, supply chains, process design and quality assurance.
Epidemiology is the study of how public health events (like diseases) develop, spread and are controlled. The study of epidemiology deals with both infectious diseases and the causes of genetic diseases and those that are influenced by environmental factors.
Health policy courses cover the government policy that affects the health care options of populations. Some topics that can be covered include government-administered programs like Medicare, ethical considerations, research methods and how the composition of government shapes a country's health care system.
Macroeconomics takes a broad, global view of economic systems. MBA courses will generally cover subjects that relate to business interactions with national and global economies such as financial markets, national and international banking systems and the impact of government policy on businesses.
General Admission Requirements
Students will need to meet the admissions requirements of both the MBA and MPH programs at each school.
Some programs may set GPA requirements for more recent credits earned, and/or may require a certain GRE score. MBA programs may require that the student pass the GMAT. Other general items that programs may ask for include letters of recommendation from previous professors, some amount of work experience in health and human services, a personal statement or a demonstration of English proficiency such as the TOEFL (if they have done prior coursework in a country where English is not the primary language).
Certain programs will not allow students to undertake the dual degree if they have already started on an MPH, or may not allow MBA students to switch over to the program after they have completed a semester or more of coursework.
A dual graduate degree in public health and business administration is perfect for students who see themselves as heads of a hospital or drafters and evaluators of health policy, though those are hardly the only possibilities.